In the second of our two-part series on the construction industry, we showcase the top five patents and patent-pending buildings and their unique designs that make them stand apart.
If you thought Apple only patented its technology, then here’s food for thought. Apple has at least two patented architectural splendours to its credit – the Apple Store in Broadway (which has Steve Jobs as one of its designers), and another store in Shanghai.
So what makes the Apple store in Broadway, NY, so special? For one, the Architect’s Newspaper described it as “meticulous and seamless as its clients”. The building is designed to portray Apple’s merchandise, evoking a sense of consistency with its sleek look, clean and streamlined design, and user-friendly working. The building has been designed with materials and lights to allow it to resemble a three-dimensional version of the iMac or iPhone display. The patent owners include Karl Backus, Peter Bohlin and George Bradley who are architects at Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, and Robert Bridger, Benjamin L. Fay, Steve Jobs and Bruce Johnson for the design.
Apple’s Shanghai store is an absolute jaw-dropper. The design includes a massive glass cylinder that serves as an entrance to its magnificent store. Granted patent number 8,544,217, Apple holds the rights not just for the design of the cylindrical structure but also the type of glass that was used and the construction method.
A common aspect about both these buildings is that they are fashioned out of monolithic glass slabs with only the connecting joints fashioned out of metal. However, the execution of the Shanghai store’s building is bound to have been more challenging, what with the arcs and curves to form the cylinder.
Changing with the times
Proto Homes is a construction company based out of Los Angeles, CA, that believes wholly and solely that the structure of the home should change as seamlessly as designs of mobile phones and computers. The company describes the old fashion way of constructing houses as insane and has gone ahead to apply for patents for three of its construction methods and material.
The heart of all Proto homes lies in its patent pending ProtoCore design. This is a prefabricated centralized infrastructural silo that not only acts as the support frame of every house that the company builds, but also houses all the electrical, plumbing and mechanical elements. It is practically the infrastructural juggernaut of a Proto home.
An interesting aspect of all Proto homes is that they have a centralized control room the size of a shipping container that contains all the home systems. The entire house is covered by a wireless mesh and from these emanate music, temperature, gas for the fireplace, etc., which are manned from the control room. What’s more, you can even project movies on the walls for a perfect viewing experience.
Truly redefining the art of living, Proto Homes also own the patent pending technology and design of a FlexZone. This idea allows users to create private spaces by moving cabinets, inner walls, kitchen counters and the like.
Nomadic comfort, truly
Nomadic Comfort LLC is an Australian company that specializes in manufacturing tents for camping activities. In a bid to create strong structures that can face the vagaries of weather with ease, Nomadic Comfort went ahead to earn patents on its two products – the RingPole tensioned fabric structures and the Trussring support system. With a unique design of a circular frame, Nomadic Comfort’s RingPole patented structure helps create ample space within the tent using minimal components of durable fabric, while its Trussring support system have semi-rigid hoops within the fabric to make it stretch taut and light over the skeletal structure.
Structuring the stor(e)y
Colorado-based Prescient Co. is a technology and manufacturing company that has two construction patents to its credit. The first is a patent for its light gauge structural system, wherein the company has done away with bearing walls, concrete and hot-rolled steel for its engineering purposes Instead, it uses standardized light gauge steel panels and cold-rolled steel elements to create framing systems for upto 12 stories in a faster, greener and economically viable manner.
In a more recent event, the company received its second patent to protect its CAD to CAM manufacturing process and for its use of URL codes like bar codes and QR codes to identify the location of its structures with precision within a bulding.
Hurricane swirls in a new building style
Jovan Nikolic of Belgrade created a revolution in the construction industry with his patented technology that allows one to build quality, eco-friendly buildings with high resistance – and all this at an extremely low cost that can pull down the cost of real estate drastically. Dismayed by the havoc being caused by Hurricane Andrew back in 1992, Nikolic set about finding a solution to protect residents from such natural disasters. He created a continuous insulation system within concrete panels that ensure the premises stays warm irrespective of the weather outside. This not only cuts down on the electricity bills for insulation by 80%, but also reduces the emission of harmful gases caused by heating.
In a recent development, his €1.25 billion company (a major part of the value goes to the patent) constructed a seven story building with his technology in a record 60 days. With patents beginning to bring about a revolution in construction technology and methodology, there’s little doubt that many more marvels are set to stand high and mighty in the coming years.
(Featured image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/goincase/435243946)